Thursday Truths: I Want To Draw

The one day of the week where I own up to something.

I want to be able to draw.

When you read this simple sentence it's quite general and nothing too specific.  We can all draw but to me a stick figure with two eyes and a smile is not exactly art at it's finest.

 

I have a vision inside my head of sitting down with some pencils and a sketch book and letting my fingers do the talking.  I really admire the artist that is able to see the way the light hits an object and the angles and shadows it creates and then reproducing it on a flat piece of paper and giving it life.

The reality for myself is something quite different.  I see the object and the light and the shadows but in the transition from what I see to putting it on paper, there is an obvious disconnect.

I look at the drawing and immediately I criticise it for being not what I expected.

To begin with I'm very positive and excited about what I'm about to do.  This is going to be fun and I'm going to create an amazing piece of art.

Then that inner voice that we all have has it's input.  What the hell is that?  It's the wrong shape, the shadows are all wrong.  Are you going to get any better?

So I've now got an argument happening with myself as I try and finish what I'm drawing.

Man, it's so frustrating!!!

And you know what, I'm still drawing.  I keep showing up.

There are days when it would be easier to go and watch T.V or cruise around on Facebook.

But it's in those times when it would be easier to stay inside the comfort zone that we learn and most importantly grow.

I've had to learn to shut that negative inner voice up.  There had to be a shift in my mindset and attitude.

Somebody way smarter than me coined the term "Growth Mindset", when you believe that your basic abilities can be improved through dedication and hard work.

When I accepted the fact that my expectations were unrealistic it subsequently allowed me to enjoy drawing much more. Am I creating masterpieces?  No.  But by just doing the work I'm improving little bit by little bit.

Did I really expect that I was going to be able to draw like a master on my first few attempts?

Of course not!  But when you listen to that inner voice that's exactly what it's saying you should be able to do.

How can I get mad when I'm not working on getting better everyday?

If it's important to you then it's worth practicing everyday.

Our minds can play cruel tricks on us at times.  I'm nowhere near where I'd like to be in relation to my drawing skills but the more I practice the better I become at not listening or giving power to that inner voice.  I just keep doing the work.

The other thing that we should consider and recognise is how an artist got so good.  The answer is they practiced and practiced and practiced, honing their skills over time.  Some obviously were born with a natural prodigious talent but they are in a small minority.  This holds true for anything from languages, sport, learning an instrument or any new skill.  You can get lessons but it takes more than that to progress.

Imagine how little satisfaction you'd get in life if you were great at everything right away.  When you are able to enjoy the process the results taste much sweeter.  You can look back on the journey you've taken and appreciate all that hard work.  I know it'll be a satisfying moment when I can tear out that sheet of paper from my sketch book and know how far I've come.

This approach has so much carryover to other areas of our lives.  I look at other coaches in the health and fitness realm and think if I could only be like them, helping clients get amazing results and being super successful but this is self defeating talk and the trap of comparison.  I need to recognise and stamp out this negative inner dialogue because if I listen start to believe it then I'm going to collapse under it's weight!

First and foremost recognise that you have these negative thoughts running around inside your head.  Ask yourself if they have any basis in reality or are they part of the fear we all have doing something new and challenging?  At least then you'll be able to hit them head on when they appear.

I don't expect that I'll be holding exhibitions of my drawings in the near future (but who knows?) but it is fun to be challenging myself and finding my weaknesses and getting a little bit better each time I pick up a pencil.

And most importantly I'm doing it while cutting myself some slack and not giving that inner voice a platform.

So, when you step out of your comfort zone who knows what pictures you can draw.

I found this guy on Youtube and have been watching his "How To Draw" instructional videos and they are simple and easy to follow.

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